Do you ever wish you could just start over from scratch with the things in your home? Do you have a room that stresses you out just thinking about it? I’ve definitely felt that way. (Even as a designer!) I want to share something that’s completely transformed how I approach my own home and those of my clients. It may seem counterintuitive, but I really think it’s the most important thing you can do for your home.
And it doesn’t cost a dime.
Let me back up a bit…After several years in our fist home, I finally felt pretty good about furnishing each room. But I constantly had this nagging sense that things still weren’t right. I always felt like a room just wasn’t quite “there yet”. I kept adding new things only to like a room less.
My basement and attic became the receptacles for things that I didn’t want to look at but wasn’t ready to give up. Stuff spilled out from my kitchen cabinets… gadgets and dishes that I never used. But I held on to them for that “one day I might need this” reason. I had a closet full of clothes and “nothing to wear”.
My life was cluttered, and my home felt heavy.
Even when my house was picked up, I knew that all the stuff just lurked behind closed doors. I had lots of decor in my house that I loved, but all I could focus on was the stuff I wanted to replace…that lamp I hated or that mirror that I only kept it because it was a gift.
THE TURNING POINT
I felt this tension in other areas of my life too…my work and our family commitments. I felt like I was on this cycle of saying “yes”. Yes to more outings, more friends, more business opportunities, more stuff. I couldn’t truly articulate the struggle I was battling internally…I mean these were all good things, right?
Turns out, I was craving less…
Once I realized this, it scared me. I had no idea how to change our current situation. What was I going to do…throw away all the things we’d worked hard to pay for? Say no to outings with friends or opportunities for my business? About a year ago, a couple powerful books entered my life, and suddenly my mindset around “all the stuff” has drastically changed.
These books were what I so desperately needed that set me on a journey to simplify every area of my life. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less completely shifted my mindset on what I allow in my life. For a people pleasure who constantly invited stress in by saying “yes” to too many things, this book was a game-changer. The second book I read was The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Japanese organizing consultant Marie Kondo. Up until I read this book, I thought I was an organized person…and then I realized I was doing it all wrong! It made me take a hard look at why I was holding on to so many things in my home that didn’t bring joy. I cannot recommend these two books highly enough.
I have become addicted to simplifying, friends.
(At one point I was literally running around the house with a trash bag like an 8-year old hyped up on Mountain Dew saying, “What can we get rid off next?!?” I know…sounds crazy right? But truly, I’ve never felt better about that state of our stuff.)
If you commit to simplifying, it can literally change your life.
“I need options,” is something I’ve said and wrongly believed all my life. No. The truth is that I really don’t need options. In fact all those options are one of the reasons I was stressed. Many times more options mean more confusion and less focus. (This is especially be true when starting a new decorating project! Read this post to hear more.)
Having more than you need in any area distracts you from what is most important…This can be true of our schedules, our relationships, and even the decor in our homes. Clutter isn’t just a benign problem that we can ignore or manage. Left unchecked, it can eventually infect every area of our lives.
Less Stuff Equals More Style.
When you rid your home of the things that don’t speak to your style, you are left with the things that do. Suddenly they don’t have anything competing with them. The items that you truly love and represent your style get to shine and take center stage. Their prominence in a room is multiplied merely by subtracting something else.
Less Stuff Equals More Time.
Think about all the time you spend dusting, arranging, and tending to your things…Simply put, the less you have the less you have to upkeep. How many minutes of your day would you save if you only had to pick up HALF the things your kids leave around the house? (A whole post on that topic coming soon!)
Less Stuff Equals More Whitespace.
White space is one of my favorite topics right now…In design, in work, and in life. Whitespace is typically a term used in graphic design as a portion intentionally left blank for the purpose of highlighting the most important elements. This concept has been applied in so many areas of life and work in recent years. (My friend Laura wrote an post about her goal for more whitespace here. Here is another article about creating whitespace in your workflow.)
When you subtract decor from a room you create whitespace, or an intentional break. Even if you have a few sparsely decorated areas, that’s ok. I’m always amazed when I undecorate a room how fresh it feels.
Not EVERY nook and cranny needs decor.
Sometimes a room just needs to “breathe”. Other sometimes the whitespace is just temporary. It leaves room for the right pieces to enter your life at the right time. Who knows…you might even realize that you enjoy having less items around your home.
A CHALLENGE TO SIMPLIFY
I’m challenging you today to really examine the reason why you are clinging to things that do not bring you joy…Obviously there are pieces in our homes that serve a purpose that we may not think are the most gorgeous things ever. That’s ok. (Not everything has to be your favorite.) It’s usefulness in your home should inspire gratitude. This quote completely sums up my theory on approaching your home…
“Have nothing your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
This is the litmus test when deciding whether something should stay or go. Does it serve a purpose? Does it bring you joy? If you can’t answer “yes” to either of those questions, why are you holding on to it?
Do you feel like getting rid of it would be wasteful?
Are you worried about hurting your mom/friend/mother-in-law’s feelings because they gave it to you? (Hint: Guilt is never a good reason to keep something.)
Are you fearful of missing it in the future?
Do yourself a favor, and lovingly let them go. I’ve been there, friend. It’s hard to let go of things. I will tell you that once you start, it gets so much easier.
You might think “If I only had_____, then I would love my home.” But what if you could love your home more simply by getting rid of a few things that no longer suit you? Because designing an intentional home really isn’t about more pretty stuff. It’s about keeping and choosing the right things, so you have less stuff with more style. An essentialist lifestyle is not about scarcity…it’s about only having things in your home and your life that add something of value.
Tell me, friend…did this speak to you?
Are you interested or already on a mission to simplify?
PS: Do you want to be first on the list to get my new FREE guide “Decor Jumpstart”? You can sign up HERE!